On a day that saw both the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins earn dramatic victories, the New York Giants answered the bell with a huge 52-27 victory Sunday over the New Orleans Saints. The Giants (8-5) maintained their one-game NFC East lead with the victory.
This was a breakout game for rooking running back David Wilson. He returned a kickoff 97 yards for a score, carries 13 times for 100 yards -- including touchdowns of 6 and 52 yards -- and had 227 yards returning kickoffs. His 327 yards of total offense is a single-game franchise record. The Giants also set a single-game franchise record with 287 total yards in kickoff returns.
This one resembled an Arena Football League game with the teams going up and down the field at a frenetic pace. The Giants, however, took advantage of four New Orleans turnovers, two interceptions by Stevie Brown and fumble recoveries by Antrel Rolle and Linval Joseph, in addition to Wilson's kickoff return score.
The game started poorly for the Giants' offense. A 58-yard kickoff return by David Wilson, giving the Giants the ball at the New Orleans' 45, was wasted by a three-and-out.
After a New Orleans' turnover, a fumble by Marques Colston that was recovered by Antrel Rolle -- again at the 45 -- Eli Manning threw a third-down interception that Elbert Mack returned 73 yards for a score.
Wilson then returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown to knot the score at 7-7.
Linval Joseph then recovered a fumble after a reception by New Orleans fullback Jed Collins to once again set the Giants up in Saints' territory. The recovery put the ball at the New Orleans' 35-yard line. Four plays later Manning hit Martellus Bennett for a 6-yard touchdown, giving the Giants a 14-7 lead with 4:19 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Saints drove 81 yards in 14 plays for a 32-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley to cut the lead to 14-10 with 9:46 left in the half. .
Wilson, having a great day returning kickoffs, returned the ensuing kickoff 52 yards to the New Orleans' 46. Lawrence Tynes missed a 36-yard field goal attempt wide left after the Giants' drive stalled at the 19-yard line.
Following Tynes' miss the Saints drove 67 yards in eight plays. Hartley hit a 25-yard field goal to make the score 14-13 with 1:57 left in the half.
The Giants then drove 69 yards in nine plays with Manning hitting Domenik Hixon for a 5-yard touchdown on a fade route with 20 seconds left in the half, giving the Giants a 21-13 lead.
The Giants opened the second half with a Stevie Brown interception on New Orleans' first play from scrimmage, setting the Giants up at the Saints' 20-yard line. Four players later Wilson, starting the second half for Bradshaw, powered six yard off left tackle to give the Giants a 28-13 lead with 13:04 left in the third quarter.
The Giants stretched their lead to 35-13 with 8:13 left in the third quarter when Manning capped a six-play, 62-yard drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Nicks.
The Saints responded with a three-play, 75-yard drive for a score to make it 35-20 with 7:21 left in the third quarter. Darren Sproles ran 13 yards for a score, a drive set up by a 62-yard pass to Josh Morgan.
On the next drive the Giants drove into Saints territory before Manning threw his second interception of the day, giving New Orleans the ball on its own 32. The Saints took advantage, going 68 yards in six plays for a touchdown. Brees hit Sproles for a 9-yard score, making it 35-27 with 1:51 left in the third quarter.
Jernigan then set the Giants up at New Orleans' 25-yard line with a 60-yard kickoff return as the Saints kicked away from Wilson for a second straight time. Five plays later a 10-yard pass from Manning to Cruz made th score 42-27 with 14:20 to play.
Brown ended a Saints' drive with an interception inside the 10-yard line, his second of the half, and returned it 70 yard sto the New Orleans' 22 with 11:50 remaining. A 39-yard field goal by Tynes with 10:19 remaining made the score 45-27, putting the Saints in a position to need three scores to take the lead.
Wilson salted the game away for the Giants with 5:10 to play, going 52 yards around left end for a touchdown that made the score 52-27.